LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness 2024 – A Real Difference

In 2024, LA Fitness and Planet Fitness remain two of the most popular and affordable gym chains in the United States and Canada. As of 2024, LA Fitness operates over 800 premium clubs catering to all fitness levels and featuring top-of-the-line equipment and amenities like pools, courts, and group fitness studios.

Membership rates start around $30 per month. Meanwhile, Planet Fitness now has over 1,500 judgment-free budget gyms welcoming casual gym-goers and beginners with basic but functional fitness floors. Extremely low membership fees – just $10 to $25 monthly – are a key selling point.

While both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness have expanded their national footprints and membership bases in 2024, their core models contrast sharply.

LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness 2024

LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness

LA Fitness prides itself on a luxury, high-performance experience while Planet Fitness focuses on an accessible, non-intimidating atmosphere for novice and occasional gym users.

What is LA Fitness?

Founded in 1984 and headquartered in California, LA Fitness operates over 700 gyms across the US and Canada. Catering to all levels – from beginners to bodybuilders – LA Fitness prides itself in having spacious, upscale facilities packed with top-quality cardio and weights equipment.

Beyond standard gym equipment, most clubs also feature premium amenities like swimming pools, basketball courts, group exercise studios, and tennis courts. Personal training, specialty classes like kickboxing and spin, and Kidz Klub babysitting services are also available.

An LA Fitness membership starts from $29.99 per month. Multi-club access allows members to access any location in their state.

What is Planet Fitness?

Founded in 1992 in New Hampshire, Planet Fitness has exploded to over 2,200 budget gyms throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. It aims to provide a welcoming, non-intimidating gym atmosphere for novice gym-goers as part of its ‘Judgement Free Zone’ policy.

Most Planet Fitness clubs feature basic strength and cardio machines. While amenities are limited, the essentials are covered – from free fitness coaching to tanning beds and massage chairs. Open 24/7 at most locations, PF gyms have a very casual, easygoing environment.

Classic membership costs just $10 a month. For $22.99 per month, PF’s Black Card gives access to amenities plus the ability to visit any branch.

Similarities Between LA Fitness and Planet Fitness

Despite differences in their target market and pricing, LA Fitness and Planet Fitness do share a few core similarities:

  • National scale – with hundreds of locations across the US and Canada, both chains have national coverage for travelers.
  • Cardio and strength equipment – all clubs offer a solid variety of standard cardio machines like treadmills, bikes, and rowers plus strength machines and free weights.
  • Beginner-friendly – both gyms cater to all levels so new gym-goers won’t feel out of depth. Planet Fitness has more specific beginner policies, however.
  • Flexible hours – opening times fit around most schedules. PF gyms are open 24 hours while LA Fitness clubs open early and close late.
  • Budget prices – neither gym will break the bank compared to higher-end competitors. Planet Fitness leads for the lowest membership fees.

Main Differences between LA Fitness Vs Planet Fitness

While LA Fitness and Planet Fitness share some basic traits, they differ across six key areas:

  1. Atmosphere and Clientele

LA Fitness has a polished, upscale design with plenty of space and high-end equipment to satisfy hardcore gym enthusiasts and newbies. The clientele spans all levels and age groups.

Planet Fitness locations have a simpler, purposefully budget design to match the very affordable membership fees. Mostly casual gym-goers are attracted by the open, judgment-free vibe.

  1. Amenities and Facilities

A standard LA Fitness gym offers not only extensive amounts of leading cardio, strength, and weight machines but also premium facilities like:

  • Indoor heated swimming pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Saunas
  • Steam rooms
  • Basketball courts
  • Racquetball courts
  • Group fitness studios
  • Pro shop

Meanwhile, a Planet Fitness club provides more streamlined amenities:

  • Basic cardio equipment – bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, rowers
  • Selectorized strength machines
  • Some free weights
  • Tanning beds
  • Massage chairs
  • Fitness Coaching
  1. Classes and Personal Training

LA Fitness provides far more fitness class options than Planet Fitness – across all types like yoga, Pilates, cardio kickboxing, dance, and aqua aerobics. Classes span beginner to advanced levels.

Expert personal training tailored to your goals is also available at LA Fitness. Planet Fitness has no traditional live classes beyond its PE@PF resistance training program for beginners. Its trainers provide instruction but not customized programming.

  1. Membership Fees and Pricing

Planet Fitness leads for sheer affordability. A national PF membership starts from just $10/month and club access from $22.99/month. There are typically no annual contracts either.

LA Fitness offers competitive budget pricing but charges more given its extensive amenities and classes. Statewide access starts around $29.99/month depending on your location. Annual fees also apply.

  1. Guest Policies

LA Fitness allows members to bring a limited number of guests per visit, charging $20 per guest. Access excludes certain areas like group exercise studios.

Upgrading to Planet Fitness’ pricier Black Card membership allows you to bring a friend anytime for free. Guests have full access apart from some amenities like tanning and massage beds.

  1. Opening Hours and Access

Most LA Fitness clubs open daily from around 5 am until 11 pm, with specific hours varying by location. Not all clubs are open 24/7.

Nearly all Planet Fitness gyms are open round-the-clock so members can visit anytime day or night. Great for those with non-standard schedules or who like late nights/early mornings!

LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness – Understanding the Differences

Now we’ve covered the key traits of LA Fitness and Planet Fitness side by side, let’s analyze some major areas of difference in more detail:

Atmosphere and Clientele

  • LA Fitness caters to all fitness levels – beginners to advanced gym-goers and athletes
  • Most LA Fitness clubs have an upscale, spacious design
  • The overall atmosphere is polished and professional
  • Planet Fitness targets beginners and casual gym-goers specifically
  • Atmosphere designed to be open and unintimidating for newcomers
  • Laidback design, budget equipment, “Judgement Free Zone” culture

Equipment and Facilities

  • LA Fitness offers extensive high-end cardio and strength equipment
  • Also access to premium amenities like pools, basketball courts, etc.
  • Group exercise studios, saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms
  • Small retail pro shops are also available
  • Planet Fitness sticks to basic popular cardio and resistant machines
  • Limited amenities – mainly tanning beds and massage chairs
  • No recreation facilities like pools or courts

Classes

  • LA Fitness offers dozens of free weekly fitness classes
  • Huge variety spanning beginner to advanced levels
  • Also specialized options like kickboxing and spin
  • Personal training and small group training are available
  • Kidz Klub babysitting services provided
  • Planet Fitness only offers the beginner PE@PF class
  • Focused on proper strength machine technique
  • No traditional live classes otherwise

Membership and Pricing

  • Planet Fitness offers national membership from $10/month
  • No annual contracts are required at most gyms
  • LA Fitness monthly fees from $29.99 to $39.99
  • Multi-club access within your State generally
  • Typically require 12 month+ annual contracts

Guest Policies

  • LA Fitness charges $20 per guest per visit
  • Guest access is limited to general facilities
  • Certain areas like studios restricted
  • Planet Fitness Black Card includes free guest
  • One friend can accompany a member per visit
  • Access excluded some limited services

Opening Hours and Access

  • Nearly all Planet Fitness gyms are open 24/7
  • Available for members anytime
  • LA Fitness weekly hours are approximately 5 am – 11 pm
  • Access is more limited overnight

Staff Friendliness and Professionalism

  • Both chains generally have friendly staff
  • LA Fitness staff can offer specialized fitness advice
  • Planet Fitness staff promote “Judgement Free Zone” culture
  • But quality does depend on a specific location

LA Fitness vs Planet Fitness: Quick Comparison Table

LA Fitness Planet Fitness
Monthly Fees From $29.99 From $10
Annual Contracts Required in most cases Not required
Guest Policies $20 per guest Unlimited guests with Black Card
Target Members All levels Beginners
Atmosphere Upscale, pro feel Budget, Casual
Amenities Pools, courts, etc Limited
Gym Equipment Extensive, high-end Streamlined, budget
Group Exercise Classes 50+ weekly Limited (PE@PF)
Personal Training Yes Instructor support only
Opening Hours 5 am – 11 pm 24 hours / 7 days

LA Fitness vs. Planet Fitness: Which is Better & How to Choose?

So ultimately should you pick powerhouse gym chain LA Fitness or rapid growth trailblazer Planet Fitness? Let’s summarize the pros and cons of each brand.

LA Fitness Pros

  • Upscale gym experience
  • Huge range of high-end equipment
  • Premium amenities like pools
  • 50+ weekly fitness classes
  • Personal and small group training
  • Multi-club access statewide
  • Caters equally to all levels

LA Fitness Cons

  • Higher monthly fees
  • Annual contracts are mostly compulsory
  • Not all clubs are open 24/7
  • Guest policy is less flexible

Must Check: LA Fitness Membership Cost


Planet Fitness Pros

  • Ultra-low membership rates
  • No annual contracts to lock in
  • 24/7 flexibility at most gyms
  • Specializes in newcomers
  • Relaxed, non-intimidating atmosphere
  • Black Card allows free guest

Planet Fitness Cons

  • Budget gym experience
  • Very limited amenities
  • Virtually no traditional live classes
  • Caters best for beginners over veterans
  • Staff less specialized

Must Check: Planet Fitness Membership Cost

Ultimately there are persuasive cases to join either gym brand depending on your personal fitness needs and budget:

LA Fitness is ideal for:

  • Intermediate to advanced gym-goers
  • Swimmers – pools in most clubs
  • Group exercisers
  • Those wanting premium facilities
  • Gym enthusiasts want a variety
  • Parents needing childcare

Planet Fitness best suits:

  • Total beginners
  • Those wanting a basic budget gym
  • People with inflexible schedules
  • Anyone needing 24/7 access
  • Casual and occasional gym-goers
  • Those wanting to avoid intimidation

Think carefully about your workout preferences, fitness level, schedule, and budget to decide if LA Fitness or Planet Fitness seems the better match.

Try taking advantage of any guest passes or free trials available to experience each gym first-hand before committing. That gives the chance to see facilities, equipment, classes, and staff up close.

FAQs:

Still uncertain exactly where one gym surpasses the other and who each brand appeals to most? These 10 common questions provide deeper insight.

  • Which gym is more affordable?

For the lowest membership rates hands-down, Planet Fitness wins. Joining fees start at just $10 per month compared to $30+ at LA Fitness.

  • Which offers more amenities and facilities?

With pools, basketball courts, and more, LA Fitness offers far more amenities than the limited extras at Planet Fitness like massage chairs.

  • Which gym provides more personalized instruction?

LA Fitness offers one-on-one training and tailored programs. Planet Fitness has floor coaches to advise but no true personalized training.

  • Which gym best accommodates hardcore bodybuilders?

The extensive weights sections and available personalized training make LA Fitness preferable over the beginner-centric Planet Fitness.

  • Which gym has the best opening hours?

Nearly all Planet Fitness clubs open 24/7 which suits night owls and shift workers better than LA Fitness’ 5 am-11 pm hours.

  • Which gym offers more variety and activities?

With 50+ weekly classes, swim clubs, and courts, LA Fitness provides far more workout variety than Planet Fitness.

  • Which gym best suits casual fitness fans?

Those wanting a budget, laidback experience are better served by Planet Fitness over the higher-end performance focus of LA Fitness.

  • Which gym has a more professional feel?

The upscale design, specialized staff, and premium equipment give LA Fitness locations a more polished, luxury health club atmosphere compared to the casual community gym style of Planet Fitness.

  • Can I work out at any branch of each gym?

LA Fitness’ multi-club memberships grant access to every branch within your State. For nationwide access at Planet Fitness, upgrade to their premium Black Card tier.

  • Do these gyms enforce contracts?

Annual contracts generally apply for LA Fitness memberships. Planet Fitness memberships offer more flexibility with no annual commitment at most clubs.

Final Verdict

Both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness have earned their positions as leading national budget gym chains. Each brand caters well to its respective target member – the former provides a full-service premium health club experience across hundreds of upscale locations while the latter specifically prioritizes budget pricing and an accessible, non-judgemental zone welcoming casual gym-goers and newbies.

Ultimately choosing LA Fitness or Planet Fitness comes down to aligning their strengths to your personal fitness needs and preferences. Carefully analyze factors like budget, flexibility, amenities, training support, and general atmosphere.

If you remain undecided, visit clubs of both chains to experience their offerings first-hand. Many run free guest pass promotions or multi-day trials for prospective new members.

Put both LA Fitness and Planet Fitness firmly under the microscope to determine conclusively which brand seems the right gym home for you!

About Gym Bills Team

We are a team of fitness enthusiasts who have made it our mission to scout out the best gym deals globally and provide transparent pricing information to help you find affordable access to top-quality fitness facilities.

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